A Blog by the Editor of The Middle East Journal

Putting Middle Eastern Events in Cultural and Historical Context

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Sarkozy Wants Lieberman Out

French President Nicolas Sarkozy has reportedly told Binyamin Netanyahu in a private message that he should get rid of Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman, leading to sharp reactions by the Israeli Foreign Ministry about interference in its internal affairs. But the message was a private one, not a public denunciation, and a Haaretz editorial agrees:
French President Nicolas Sarkozy's request of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu that he replace Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman exposes a sad truth: At present Israel does not have a functioning foreign minister. The international community refuses to speak to a politician who is considered racist in the wake of the campaign conducted by his party, Yisrael Beiteinu, against Arab citizens during the recent Knesset election campaign. There is not and cannot be any other way to interpret Sarkozy's comparison between Lieberman and far-right French politician Jean-Marie Le Pen.
Lieberman has his own troubles at home, including a police investigation, and given the current tensions between Washington and Israel, a more effective Foreign Minister might start to make sense to Netanyahu.

Today is a deadline day so posting will be light until sometime this afternoon.

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